bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate britain

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate britain

Bobby Baker’s ‘An Edible Family in a Mobile Home’ at tate

 

Tate Britain presents a revival of Bobby Baker’s influential feminist artwork, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, not seen for nearly five decades. This radical sculptural installation is featured outside Tate Britain on the South Lawn, coinciding with the opening of the autumn exhibition, Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK 1970-1990, which features over 100 women artists. Originally presented in 1976, the installation replicates Baker’s prefabricated East London house and comprises five life-size sculptures of family members crafted from cake, biscuits, and meringues, inviting visitors to consume them gradually. Tate Britain visitors can enter the house, savor these edible sculptures, and engage with hosts trained by Baker.

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate
all images © Tate, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, Bobby Baker, 2023, image by Madeline Buddo

 

 

inside baker’s edible installation 

 

Baker staged this unique installation in her East London home in 1976. Visitors indulged in pieces of her cake ‘family,’ and she served cups of tea while performing the role of a polite female host. The family members occupied various rooms adorned with walls plastered in newspaper cuttings and decorated with icing, creating a subtle scent of sugar. In the living room, a father made of fruit cake reclined in an armchair surrounded by tabloid newspapers. In the bath, a teenage son made of garibaldi biscuits lay in chocolate cake bathwater against a backdrop of comics. In the kitchen, a mother crafted from a dressmaker’s mannequin, featuring a teapot for a head, offered a continuous supply of fairy cakes, sandwiches, and fruit from compartments in her hollow abdomen. Over the span of a month, the artist personally baked, sculpted, and decorated each family member.

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate
Baker baked, sculpted, and decorated each of these family members herself over the course of a month, image by Madeline Buddo

 

 

The current installation is a replica of the original work, featuring updates by the artist. Beside the restored dressmaker’s dummy mother are figures depicting a daughter, son, husband, and baby. These figures, made from garibaldi biscuits, meringue, and various cake flavors, including a vegan option, were baked by Lily Vanilli and assembled by Baker’s team. Following research with UCL’s Institute of Making, Baker developed specialized icing for the house’s walls, and the building’s structure will be slightly adjusted for improved accessibility. Specially trained hosts, including BA Fine Art students from Chelsea College of Arts and young women recruited through the charity You Make It, will serve cake and tea.

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate
image by Madeline Buddo

 

 

Following its exhibition at Tate Britain, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home will embark on a UK tour led by Baker and her production company, Daily Life Limited. The tour’s conclusion will feature a final presentation in collaboration with Idle Women, a Lancashire-based artist-led social justice initiative that focuses on creating transformative spaces for women. The prefab structure will be permanently donated to Idle Women to repurpose it, ensuring its longevity beyond the exhibition.

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate
In the living room, a father made of fruit cake slumped in an armchair surrounded by tabloid newspapers, © by Madeline Buddo

tate-an-edible-family-in-a-mobile-home-bobby-baker-designboom-18003

image by Madeline Buddo

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate
image by Madeline Buddo

 

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate
in the bath, a teenage son made of garibaldi biscuits lay in chocolate cake bathwater, image by Madeline Buddo

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate britain
in the kitchen, there is a mother constructed from a dressmaker’s mannequin with a teapot for a head, image by Madeline Buddo

bobby baker sculpts an edible family from cake, biscuits & meringues at tate britain
image by Madeleine Buddo

tate-an-edible-family-in-a-mobile-home-bobby-baker-designboom-1800

image by Madeleine Buddo

1/16
Press photo of An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976, for the Stratford 	Express
Press photo of An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976, for the Stratford Express
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. 	Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. 	Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. 	Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. 	Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Documentation of preparation for An Edible Family in a Mobile Home by Bobby Baker, 1976. Photo: Andrew Whittuck
Portrait of Bobby Baker at Tate Britain, 2023. Photographed by Hugo Glendinning
Portrait of Bobby Baker at Tate Britain, 2023. Photographed by Hugo Glendinning
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
Bobby Baker, An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976. Documented by Andrew Whittuck
image by Larina Fernandes
image by Larina Fernandes
image by Larina Fernandes
image by Larina Fernandes
image by Larina Fernandes
image by Larina Fernandes

project info:

 

name: An Edible Family in a Mobile Home

artist: Bobby Baker | @bobbyartistbaker

funded: by the National Lottery via Arts Council England

location: Tate Britain South Lawn, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG | @tate

dates: 8 November – 3 December 2023 and 8 March – 7 April 2024

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